Philadelphia Inquirer: Former LCB chief comes out in favor of privatizing State Stores

The man who once had the greatest say over what alcohol Pennsylvanians could drink has thrown his support behind the effort to take that control away from government and end the State Store system.

Jonathan Newman, the former chairman of the Liquor Control Board, said Tuesday that “the stars are perfectly aligned” to privatize the sale of wine and liquor in Pennsylvania – an endeavor that has failed under three previous governors. “This is the year change is going to happen,” Newman said during a news conference at the Wine School of Philadelphia.

Newman joined House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) and State Rep. Tom Killion (R., Delaware), the sponsors of the bill to privatize the LCB’s wholesale and retail operations.

PHOENIX newspaper

The Phoenix: Wine, Wit and Wisdom

The festivities began with a sponsors’ reception, and featured speaker Keith Wallace, owner of The Wine School of Philadelphia. “We do charity events all of the time because they are fun,” said Wallace. “The people in Phoenixville are open-minded, and it was an honor to be here.”
Wallace said that people are becoming more and more curious about wine. “I like that so I can give them more information about wine,” he said. “They are enthusiastic and have a lot of good questions.”

Wallace had 125 bottles of wine in tow, and said he usually brings 25 percent more just in case. “We opened almost all of them,” he said. “We try to bring a half a bottle per person, which equals three glasses total. It’s about keeping everyone happy so they can drive home.”

Associated Press: Wine vending machines make their debut

Numerous attempts at reform have been turned back by special interests intent on keeping their slice of the pie. So simply stocking Chianti and cabernet on supermarket shelves is not an option under the state’s post-Prohibition liquor laws. The liquor board has tried to be more consumer-friendly in recent years, including opening 19 full-service state stores in supermarkets. The board touts the kiosks as another step toward modernization – “an added level of convenience in today’s busy society,” liquor board Chairman Patrick Stapleton said in a statement.

Not everyone is swallowing that line. Craig Wolf, president and CEO of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, questioned the machines’ efficacy in preventing sales to minors.

Keith Wallace, president and founder of The Wine School of Philadelphia, described the kiosks as well-intentioned failures with limited selections and overtones of Big Brother. “The process is cumbersome and assumes the worst in Pennsylvania’s wine consumers – that we are a bunch of conniving underage drunks,” Wallace wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “(Liquor board) members are clearly detached from reality if they think these machines offer any value to the consumer.”

Associated Press: The perfect drink for the Super Bowl

During Superbowl season, beer and football almost seem like synonyms. But what if you or your crowd prefer wine?

Since most foods served on Superbowl Sunday – the usual array of chili, ribs, chips and dip – are salty, David Snyder, a wine instructor at the Wine School of Philadelphia, suggest high acid wines such as Champagne or sauvignon blanc.

“Champagne with potato chips goes perfectly,” he says. “High acid wine goes with salty foods because it’s going to moderate the saltiness. It’s a fantastic combination.”

But be careful when it comes to chili or ribs, especially if they’re hot and spicy. Low-acid whites, such as chardonnay, or high-tannin reds, such as cabernet sauvignon, react poorly with the heat.

“It will override the natural flavors and the food will end up tasting terrible,” Snyder says.

wine news

Philadelphia City Paper: Gary Vaynerchuk at the Wine School

Wine guru Gary Vaynerchuk will be at the Wine School of Philadelphia today, June 12, to promote his new book — Gary Vaynerchuk’s 101 Wines: Guaranteed to Inspire, Delight and Bring Thunder to Your World (Rodale Books, $19.95). Vaynerchuk– or Gary V, as his followers, the “Vayniacs,” call him — is the director of operations for Springfield, N.J.’s Wine Library, but he’s best-known for his high-energy video podcast on tv.winelibrary.com, where he moves away from stuffy wine practices by using terms like “sniffy sniff” and asking whether a bottle “brings the thunder” when he reviews them. The Internet celebrity has appeared on Ellen and Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and he’s been featured in print in places like The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Time.

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times: Rasslers ready to stomp on wine snoots

Vince McMahon doesn’t want anyone thinking his wrestling superstars are a bunch of wine-tasting wimps.
McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. has told the American Wine Foundation, owner of the Wine School of Philadelphia with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, that it is infringing on its copyright by calling one of its wine classes “Sommelier Smackdown.” As any WWE fan knows, “Smackdown” is the name of one of its most popular franchises.
In a letter to the Wine School of Philadelphia, the WWE told the wine sippers that its use of the word “smackdown” is “likely to create consumer confusion as to WWE’s affiliation, sponsorship and/or approval” of the class. Yes, because we all know how similar wine snobs are to wrestling fanatics.

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